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Systematic Review: PRISMA

Copy of published guide 'systematic review' (Paula Todd version) for Editing taken in July 2021

What is PRISMA?

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) is an evidence-based minimum set of items for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses. PRISMA is an international initiative developed by relevant experts to address the ongoing issue of a lack of well documented and transparent review methods reported in published review papers.

The PRISMA 2020 statement has been published in a number of journals and can be viewed here

PRISMA resources include:

  • PRISMA 2020 checklist - a checklist developed to improve the transparency of reporting. The checklist addresses the introduction, methods, results and discussion sections of a systematic review report.
  • PRISMA 2020 Flow Diagram - flow diagram depicts the flow of information through the different phases of a systematic review. It maps out the number of records identified, included and excluded, and the reasons for exclusions. Different templates are available depending on the type of review (new or updated) and sources used to identify studies.
  • PRISMA 2020 Flow Diagram generator - a tool that can be utiised to automate the flow diagram process
  • PRISMA extensions - several extensions of the PRISMA Statement have been developed to facilitate the reporting of different types or aspects of systematic reviews. Examples include: PRISMA-S for searching, PRISMA-SCR for scoping reviews, PRISMA-P for protocols.


screenshot of a PRISMA 2020 Flow Diagram

Common questions and answers about the PRISMA flow diagram and PRISMA-S

PRISMA 2020 and PRISMA-S: common questions on tracking records and the flow diagram
"Since the publication of PRISMA 2020 and PRISMA-S, researchers have posed many questions about the best ways to track records and use the PRISMA 2020 flow diagram appropriately. In the rest of this commentary, we will answer some of the most common ones".